How to Write a Termination Letter to Employees: Dos and Don’ts


Terminating an employee is never an easy task, but it’s an essential part of any business. So, it is crucial to handle such situations with professionalism and respect. 

Drafting the termination letter is essential since it can serve as a legal document and a reference for the employee’s departure. It not only informs the employee of the termination but also serves as proof of the decision. In this article, we’ll explore the essential components of a termination letter to employees and when it’s appropriate to use one. 

We’ll also discuss what to include and what not to include in a termination letter and why they are important. By understanding the critical elements of a well-crafted termination letter, employers can ensure that they handle the process of termination with professionalism and care to avoid any legal repercussions that may arise from poor communication.

What is a Termination Letter to employees?

A termination letter to employees is a formal document that communicates the conclusion/termination of their employment contract with the company. It serves as an official record of the termination and outlines the reasons, the effective date, and any additional details about the employee’s final paycheck, benefits, or severance package. The letter should also be drafted clearly and concisely, without any unnecessary or inflammatory language.

When to use a Termination Letter for employees?

A termination letter may be used for various reasons. However, regardless of the reason, the termination letter must be written and delivered with care and sensitivity, as it can have a significant impact on the employee’s personal and professional life.

There are several situations where a termination letter is necessary, including:

  1. Poor Performance: If an employee is not meeting the required performance standards, despite repeated feedback and attempts to improve, a termination letter may be used to formalize the termination process.
  2. Misconduct: If an employee has violated company policies or engaged in unacceptable behaviour such as harassment or theft, a termination letter can be used to outline the reasons for their dismissal.
  3. Redundancy: If a company needs to downsize or restructure, a termination letter may be used to inform an employee that their position is no longer needed.
  4. Contractual agreements: If an employment contract includes a termination clause, a termination letter may be used to formally terminate the contract.
  5. Probationary period: If an employee is on probation and fails to meet the required expectations, a termination letter may be issued to end their employment.

What to Include in a Termination Letter?

A termination letter should be clear, concise, and professional. Here are some key elements to include in a termination letter:

  • Opening Paragraph: The opening paragraph should state the reason for the letter, which is to inform the employee that their employment is being terminated.
  • Reason for Termination: The termination letter to employees should clearly state the reason for the termination. Be it poor performance, violation of company policies, or downsizing, the reason should be stated clearly and objectively.
  • Date of Termination: The letter should include the date of termination. This provides the employee with a clear timeline of when their employment will end.
  • Details of Final Pay and Benefits: The letter should include details of the employee’s final pay and benefits, including any severance pay, accrued vacation time, or other benefits.
  • Information about Company Property: If the employee has any company property, such as a laptop or phone, the letter should provide instructions on how to return it.
  • Signature: The termination letter to an employee should be signed by the employer or a representative of the company.

What Not to Include in a Termination Letter?

A termination letter to an employee should focus on the facts and avoid any personal opinions or emotions. Here are some things to avoid in a termination letter:

  • Personal attacks or insults
  • Unnecessary details or explanations
  • Promises of future employment or recommendations

How to Deliver a Termination Letter?

A termination letter to an employee should be delivered during a face-to-face meeting (either done physically or virtually). The employer should provide a clear explanation of the reason for termination and answer any questions the employee may have. It is important to remain professional and respectful throughout the meeting.


Overall, a well-crafted termination letter when used properly, can help protect both the employee and the employer, and ensure a smooth and respectful end to the employment relationship. Having a clear and concise termination letter can make the process less stressful and more legally sound. It is important to consult with HR professionals or legal experts if you are unsure about the proper procedures for terminating an employee or drafting a termination letter. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, businesses can handle terminations in a way that is respectful, fair, and compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

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